Whether you like it or not, alcohol is a toxin. Unlike water, sugars, fats and proteins, alcohol has to be dealt with and eliminated as soon as it enters your body.

Alcohol can be absorbed directly through your stomach lining, which is one of the reasons it takes no time at all to feel inebriated when you drink on an empty stomach!

The consumption of alcohol damages your stomach and intestinal structures and many alcoholic beverages – beer, lager and certain spirits – contain gluten.

Alcohol places enormous strain on your detoxification system, causing liver and kidney activity to increase significantly whilst depleting important nutrients.

It is a “master poison’ and can enhance the toxicity of many other substances in by preventing your body’s ability to break these other toxins down.

Alcohol increases the activity of an enzyme called aromatase, which increases estrogen production at the expense of testosterone. This is one of the reasons why men who consume large quantities of alcohol grow breasts, colloquially known as “bitch tits” or “man boobs”.

The consumption of alcohol by a mother during pregnancy can cause birth defects.

Alcohol consumption encourages fungal overgrowth and dysbiosis in your gut, where the balance of good to bad bacteria is adversely affected. Fungal overgrowth itself can increase gut fermentation, which creates more alcohol!

Folk experiencing chronic yeast and fungal overgrowth often describe symptoms that resemble those experienced after a few drinks.

Fermentation of sugars in the gut favors the growth of yet more yeast and fungal organisms and a vicious cycle is created.

Folk with yeast and fungal overgrowth often have decreased tolerance to alcohol, sugar, fruit and grains.

Alcohol plays havoc with your physiology. There really isn’t a system in your body that can’t be affected. Your hormone, digestive, detoxification, immune and neurological systems may all be adversely affected by alcohol consumption.

Research clearly demonstrates an increased risk of serious illness:

Excessive drinking can increase your risk of getting cancer of the mouth, larynx, esophagus, liver, colon, breast, pancreas, and lungs. It is possible that a large percentage of cancer is caused by alcohol intake. According to a report from the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the more alcohol you consume, the higher your risk.

Cancer researchers in the United Kingdom have concluded that drinking as little as one glass of alcohol a day increases your risk of developing bowel cancer by about 10 per cent. And, the more you drink, the more your risk of cancer increases. The study included almost 480,000 people in the U.K. who were questioned about their level of alcohol intake, with follow-ups over the course of six years. In that period, 1,833 developed colon cancer. The study showed that those who drank more than 30 grams of alcohol per day (less than two pints of strong lager) raised their cancer risk by about 25 per cent. According to Dr. Walker, Cancer Research UK’s director of cancer information, “While there is increasing evidence that over indulging in alcohol can increase the risk of some cancers, research also shows that by far the biggest risk for life threatening diseases is the combination of smoking together with drinking alcohol.”

BBC News July 30, 2007 International Journal of Cancer July 19, 2007

I have consumed a great deal of alcohol – I shudder to think how much money I’ve pissed up the wall and how much destruction I caused in my body during my teens and twenties.

At university – nearly 20 years ago – I distinctly recall developing athlete’s foot, dandruff and hay fever, which I’d never had before and only get now…wait for it…if I drink alcohol.

I now avoid alcohol almost completely. I may have a drink with an old friend from time-to-time, whilst on holiday or on a special occasion, but I don’t feel good when I drink so I avoid it as much as possible.

Experiencing the negative effects of alcohol from time to time is useful as it reinforces just how good I feel without it and my clients have often remarked how wonderful they feel after abstaining from alcohol only to feel lousy when they consume even a small amount of alcohol again.

Alcohol can affect different folk in different ways. In her excellent book Seven Weeks To Sobriety, Dr. Joan Matthews-Larson discusses seven different classes of alcoholism, in which individuals exhibit completely different characteristics depending on their ability to metabolize alcohol.

You may have noticed some of your family or friends displaying different behaviour and characteristics when they’re drunk.

A classic example is when one person feels merry and happy after a few drinks when another becomes depressed, or agitated and angry.

Alcohol and Vegetable Oils

You may be interested to learn that some alcohol-related health conditions do not develop unless polyunsaturated (PUFA) oils are consumed in the diet, providing further evidence supporting the idea of a low-PUFA diet.

The interplay between alcohol, hormones, toxins and PUFA is of great concern, as Dr. Ray Peat says:

Even without the addition of agricultural chemicals, an excess of unsaturated vegetable oils damages the human body. Cancer can’t occur, unless there are unsaturated oils in the diet. [C. Ip, et al., Cancer Res. 45, 1985.] Alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver cannot occur unless there are unsaturated oils in the diet. [Nanji and French, Life Sciences. 44, 1989.] Heart disease can be produced by unsaturated oils, and prevented by adding saturated oils to the diet. [J. K. G. Kramer, et al., Lipids 17, 372, 1983.]

I think we all realize on a conscious level that alcohol consumption is not a healthy habit, but things like work commitments (corporate entertainment), stress and social pressure can make it hard to avoid alcohol’s detrimental effects.

Perfection In Nutrition?